What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner in Summer?

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner in Summer?

by | Educational, Energy Efficiency

Texas summer months are hot and humid. There’s no question about it. The question that does come into play is whether it’s more important to keep your monthly energy bills down or keep your home’s thermostat set at a comfortable temperature. As such, you may be weighing your options and asking yourself the same question that other homeowners have asked repeatedly: To what temperature should I set my air conditioner in summer? 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all number, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) does offer a recommendation, which we’ll get into below. Using their advice as a starting point, it’s relatively simple to then figure out how to achieve the best temperature for your personal priorities — be it energy savings, your personal comfort level, or a blissful combination of both. Here’s how to determine the best air conditioner temperature for you, along with some additional energy-saving tips that are sure to keep your cooling costs down.

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Conditioner in Summer? 

When it comes to recommended home temperatures, we hear a lot of questions:

  • What’s the best temperature setting for my air conditioner in the summer?
  • What temperature should I set my thermostat to?
  • What is the highest temperature I can set my AC unit to before I’m uncomfortable?
  • How cool should my house be if the outside temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Is 72 degrees Fahrenheit a good temperature for air conditioning?

To get started with answering these questions, we’re going to take a look at the U.S. Department of Energy’s house temperature recommendations for summer and winter. According to the DOE, the ideal home temperature during winter weather is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, the ideal air conditioner temperature during the summer months is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. 

However, these recommended temperatures are intended as a base point to start from and only apply while you’re at home and awake. 

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How Do I Slash My Electric Bill While Keeping My Home Cool?

Electric Bill Savings While Keeping Home Cooledsource

To slash your electric bill by as much as possible while keeping your home cool, set your thermostat at different temperatures throughout the day. Consider these factors when deciding what temperatures to set your air conditioner to in the summer.

What Is the Outdoor Temperature?

When deciding which temperature to set your thermostat to, consider the average outdoor temperature. The less difference there is between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the less energy your heating and cooling system (HVAC) will have to use. The less energy your HVAC uses, the lower your electricity bill.

What’s the Best Temperature to Ensure Humidity Control in Your Home?

Humid climates can result in having too much moisture inside your home, putting you and your home at risk of mold and mildew. Not to mention peeling paint, rotting wood, and other humidity-related problems that most of us would prefer to avoid. Fortunately, running an air conditioner can help lower humidity. The ideal indoor relative humidity level is 30-50%

If you have a humidifier, it may have a built-in humidistat that will monitor your home humidity level. If not, you can purchase a hygrometer for around $20 from most hardware stores or Amazon. When it comes to humidity, the rule of thumb is to set your thermostat as high as your comfort level allows, as long as it’s cool enough to ensure a healthy humidity level.

What’s Your Ideal Indoor Temperature for Comfort?

Keeping your home temperature set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime may be a bit too warm for some — especially those who are looking for much-needed relief from extreme heat. 

To find your ideal temperature for personal comfort, start by setting your thermostat to the recommended 78 degrees Fahrenheit (or 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter). If you find that you’re too hot or too cold, slowly start adjusting your thermostat by one degree at a time until you arrive at the perfect comfort level. 

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On Average, How Often Are You Away From Home, and How Many Hours Do You Sleep Each Night?

While you should remain mindful of your home’s humidity level, there’s no reason to maintain your ideal comfortable living temperature while you are away. Additionally, most people have a different ideal temperature when they sleep than they do when they’re awake. 

Setting your thermostat to different temperatures throughout the day can significantly cut back on your energy costs. You can save up to 10% per year on your utility costs by simply adjusting your thermostat setting by 7°-10°F from its standard setting for 8 hours per day. (Warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter). The closer your thermostat gets to the outdoor temperature, the higher savings percentage you’ll receive.

What Other Energy-Saving Tips Can Help Maintain a Reasonably Priced Energy Bill?

Reasonably Priced Energy Bill Using Fanssource

When it comes to energy efficiency, we have plenty of tips to help you save on your utility bill. The best energy-saving tips range from minor repairs and simple lifestyle adjustments to significant investments. But there is one thing that they all have in common: They save energy while reducing your energy bills. 

Here are the top four energy-saving tips to reduce your electric bill while using your air conditioning:

  1. Install ceiling fans in your home’s living spaces.
  2. Install a smart thermostat or another programmable thermostat.
  3. Avoid turning your AC temperature colder than usual in an attempt to quickly adjust your home’s temperature.
  4. Consider investing in an Energy Star-rated air conditioning unit.

Let’s take a closer look at why these tips are so effective.

Energy-Saving Tip #1: Install Ceiling Fans

Heating and cooling account for almost 50% of energy use in the United States. A simple and very effective way to practice energy conservation is by installing ceiling fans in your home’s living spaces

Ceiling fans use substantially less energy than air conditioners, and the airflow that ceiling fans create helps air conditioners work more efficiently. Better energy efficiency equals less electricity use and, in turn, lower utility bills. 

Plus, using ceiling fans allows you to increase your thermostat’s settings during warm summer months by four degrees Fahrenheit without experiencing a reduction in your comfort level. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to 1% per degree on your energy bill, which adds up over time.

Energy-Saving Tip #2: Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostat Using iPhonesource

It may seem too complicated to continuously adjust your thermostat to higher temperatures or lower temperatures based on your schedule and the time of day. But when you install a programmable thermostat, it’s easy to create a pre-set schedule. Once you decide on a plan that works for you, you can “set and forget” your programmable thermostat, taking all that hassle away. You can also manually override those temperature settings without affecting the rest of your program. 

Another perk of installing a programmable thermostat is that you can set them to warm up or cool down your home before you wake up or return from being away. This eliminates potential discomfort that you may experience if, for example, you walked into a toasty warm house and had to wait for it to cool down. 

Smart thermostats are programmable thermostats that take convenience to a whole new level. With smart thermostats, you’re able to control the internal temperature of your home in real-time from anywhere in the world. Like other programmable thermostats, you’re able to set them to adjust during certain times throughout each day automatically. But in addition to that, smart thermostats have a lot of other perks too.

With the touch of a button, you’re able to adjust your home’s temperature based on the humidity level inside your home. And smart thermostats do more than just follow your pre-determined settings. They’re able to learn your schedule and preferences. This helps you save energy by automatically making temperature adjustments based on the weather, the number of people in your home, and several other factors. 

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Once your smart thermostat gets to know you, it will maintain your home’s temperature just how you prefer it, all on its own. Some models are even able to diagnose A/C unit problems, give reminders when your air filter needs to be changed, and keep track of your energy use in real-time. With some models, you can even check to see if you remembered to turn off the lights. 

Since heating costs can change by about 5% for every degree that you adjust your thermostat, and your cooling costs can flex by 3% per degree, the installation of a smart thermostat is pretty much guaranteed to save you money and energy.

Energy-Saving Tip #3: Don’t Adjust Your Air Conditioner Settings for Quick Relief

Avoid turning your AC temperature colder than usual in an attempt to quickly adjust your home’s temperature. While it sounds like this may work in theory, it’s not actually effective and will not create cool air in your home any faster. It could, however, cause excessive cooling, which leads to unnecessary expenses. 

Energy-Saving Tip #4: Invest in an Energy Star Air Conditioning Unit

Energy Star Air Conditioning Unitsource

Energy Star is a program that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created to help American consumers purchase energy-efficient products. The U.S. Department of Energy backs this program, which has two main goals:

  1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions along with other inefficient energy use-caused pollution.
  2. Make it easier for American consumers to purchase energy-efficient products that help them save on utility bills and energy without sacrificing comfort, performance, or other features.

By installing a high-efficiency air conditioner, it’s possible to reduce your air conditioning energy consumption by as much as 50%. With these energy-efficient systems, the AC unit recycles the water it uses to run instead of consuming it as traditional units do.

As an added bonus, the majority of the top-rated units are reliable in extreme temperatures (as high as 131 degrees Fahrenheit). And, in the event that there is a natural disaster, a number of models can run on a generator.

Don’t Wait for Summer to Get Started

Now that you know everything you need to save money on your heating and cooling, there’s no reason to wait. Find your preferred temperature range and get started today. For another simple way to save energy and save money, learn how the small task of changing out your light bulbs can make a big difference in your energy bills.

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